Farmers prefer DBT route for fertiliser subsidy: Study

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) The first study commisioned by the NITI Aayog on Direct Benefit Transfer in Fertiliser (DBT-F) programme has found that farmers prefer the new system because it has improved the availability of fertilisers and reduced instances of overcharging.

MSC (MicroSave Consulting) MSC had conducted four rounds of evaluation on behalf of the NITI Aayog and the Department of Fertilisers (DoF).

MSC on Thursday revealed the results from a nationally representative study of the Direct Benefit Transfer in Fertiliser (DBT-F) programme. Undertaken in 2018, the objective of the study was to examine the field implementation of DBT-F closely, evaluate system efficiency, identify challenges, and provide actionable solutions.

The study found that the majority of farmers (75 per cent) and retailers (59 per cent) preferred the DBT-F system to the previous manual system of fertiliser distribution since it has improved supply while easing recordkeeping and paperwork.

Mitul Thapliyal, Partner and Leader, Government and Social Impact, MSC said: “DBT-F is one of the fastest implemented DBT programmes in the country. The endeavor works to boost transparency by tracking the movement, requirement, availability, and sale of fertiliser in real-time. Farmers prefer the new system because it has improved the availability of fertiliser and reduced instances of overcharging.”

The study evaluated DBT-F from 2016 during the pilot phases up until 2018, when the programme rolled out nationwide. The nationally representative study did research with 1,182 retailers and 11,281 farmers across 18 states and 54 districts in the country

Under this programme, the government remits the subsidy to fertiliser companies only after retailers have sold the fertiliser to farmers through Aadhaar-based authentication.

Among the major findings was that instances of manual sales without Aadhaar and “adjusted” transactions fell from 21 per cent in the third round of evaluation to 13 per cent in the current round. Adjusted transactions are those that retailers often undertake without verifying the farmers’ credentials, only to update their records later.

Among Aadhar authenticated transactions, 86.6 per cent were successful on the first attempt. Overall, successful Aadhaar authentication in three attempts increased to 99 per cent in the current round from 97 per cent in the third round of evaluation.

The average time it takes for a transaction through Point of Sale (PoS) devices improved from four to five minutes in the third round of the evaluation to three to four minutes in the current round, the study found.



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